I Want to Help, But Whom Shall I Trust? – Donating to Victims of Hurricanes and Other Disasters

 

By Janice Barlow

With so many disasters happening in recent years, in particular two major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. only sixteen days apart, almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by one of them in some way. Because of wind currents, timing of the storm, speed of the the storm and it’s strength, I personally dodged the bullet (to be trite). But I may not be so fortunate next time, since coastal North Carolina has a hurricane bullseye painted on it.

Many of us have already given to help out in some way. There are charities that are known and trustworthy that have been around for many years. Others, well, not so much. As for the larger ones, The Salvation Army is always dependable and ready to put the funding to use where it is needed. Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide organization founded by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, has been front and center in the relief effort with a terrific organization team on the ground to get supplies where they are needed. These are large and effective efforts that are faith based.

There are some smaller faith based ones as well. I had mentioned in a previous article that Hearts With Hands, a disaster relief organization in Asheville, NC has an on-call team of volunteers that will go where the need is, to hand out supplies and food right from their mobile units. They stay in the field long after the storms since the need remains great, particularly in flood ridden areas. All three of these organizations have websites (Click on the organization name here in the article) where you can donate and not worry that your money is being mismanaged.

I was disheartened to confirm my suspicions that the Red Cross simply stockpiles excess goods, and throws them away, since it realizes that it will continue to get more and more donations in the form of goods.

This brings up a point. Please do not donate hard non-perishable items to an organization unless they are specifically requested (Bottled water was requested by nearly all groups going to Texas). Clothing and food are often just discarded; thrown in piles at trash dumps – and you thought it would be used by a family in need. In the meantime, a family still goes without. Your best bet is to donate funds to a trustworthy organization which will provide exactly what is needed where and when it is needed so that there is no confusion or delay.

The Red Cross situation is disgusting. A woman filmed a video of pet supplies of over 500 pounds of dog food, dog crates, and packaged Red Cross blankets doomed for the dumpsters. Fortunately she found it and was able to divert it to pet shelters in Texas. This incident is just one in a mass of waste that the Red Cross is creating world wide. Cross them off your list of donors.

Another organization that I personally will not support, is the United Way. It includes on its list of agencies that it funnels money to – pro-abortion pregnancy crisis centers in various areas. You can direct money through UW to a specific agency, like the Kidney Foundation, but why add an extra layer in there when you can donate directly to the Kidney Foundation, and even do so on a state by state basis? Also, the United Way takes anywhere from 30-55% of every contribution for overhead. Both the UW and the RC pay their top management six digit incomes. How is that a non-profit?

If you really want to roll up your sleeves and touch someone personally, either set up a gofundme account for a family that was devastated by one of the hurricanes, or if one is already set up and you know the account is valid, donate to it directly. That way, you know that all of your money is going to help a family. Even if you already contributed to an organization, a small amount to a gofundme account can touch a family directly.

I will go out on a limb here and give an example.  Kim Tracey Konash had to evacuate the Tampa Bay area just prior to Hurricane Irma. She is a stay at home single mom with eight children. Six are still at home and she home schools four of them. There is no paid time off for two of them who have an income, and Kim has many medical issues with bills piling up. On top of that, her home sustained some minor damage in the storm including a broken window, and her car was unable to transport all of her kids to evacuate so she needed to make arrangements.

Someone had already set up a gofundme account for Kim, and I was more than happy to donate to help her. I’m sure her needs are far greater than the $2,000 that is being requested. Most of her expenses are for evacuation and loss of all the food in her freezer. She was already set back by medical costs.

When a storm damages a home, 5% of the value of the home is deducted before any insurance claim is paid. So if a $100,000 home sustained $7,000 in damage, the owner would only collect $2,000, because there would be a $5,000 deductible for hurricane damage. That’s how it works in Florida. Lesser claims than the 5% deductible are simply left to the owner.

I’m not embarrassed to push Kim’s link, if you would like to donate. Even $10 would help. https://www.facebook.com/donate/414512788943503/10209062376350722/

I can’t think of a better way to use Facebook than to help people we probably will never meet in person, but with whom we can share God’s love. After all, everything we have belongs to Him, and it’s by His grace that we have anything at all. We aren’t to hoard what we are blessed with.

I hope you find it in your heart to help someone who was hurt because of one of these storms, whether personally or through a reputable charitable organization, or both. After all, we would be so grateful to anyone who would help us if we were the ones who had suffered through the storm.

 

Janice Barlow (J.M. Barlow) is a true crime author. Her books are on Amazon, including a fictional account of the life of her 14-year-old greyhound, Daisy.

 

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